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This is a story of joy, lights and darkness; the darkness that comes with death, the darkness that comes after losing something precious. But do not be sad because like all misery, it started with sheer happiness.
Three years ago, I went to a food festival. Walking by different food stalls, indulging in the taste of churros served with hot chocolate sauce and sprinkled sugar, I saw something shining. There were lights everywhere, the sky was lit. That is how I remember you, that is how I will always like to recall you. I followed the lights, stuffing my face with churros. The adrenaline was kicking in. As I approached you closer, I could see you clearly. There were many like you being filled with air and waiting to inflate, but my heart chose you, my eyes only admired you.
You were the right kind of round and so transparent, adorned with blue LED lights. The lights that filled me with joy and made you shine. When I held you for the first time, I remember being careful and gentle. I did not want to lose you. Children all around me were trying to reach out to you, forcing their parents to get them one of your look-alikes.
As a child, I was intrigued by the idea of finding magic. However, with time, I learned to navigate situations around myself by making sense of what seemed too overwhelming. For me, the balloon was that special companion that brought the magic back into my life.
This was one casual night out. I was dressed up, even put up a smile to hide all that I was going through internally. I do that sometimes. All of us actually. I think that is why when I first saw you, I instantly thought that you would bring light to my otherwise dull, routine life. Looking back, I sometimes long for the joy I derived from the simplest things of life like getting a balloon and being the happiest seeing it float in midair. My LED light balloon was exactly that newfound companion that I was reunited with in adulthood.
My heart was pounding as I saw some of you die; popping one by one. Oh, the carnage. Why must you be destroyed by these little monsters? I wanted to hide you but I also wanted to flaunt you and your twinkling lights.
I remember us taking our first walk together. You swayed with the wind. The memories of that night are special and still fresh. As I approached the parking lot, I remember it being dark and quiet but you brought light to my life.
That night I took you home and looked for a safe place to put you. I wanted you to be comfortable. So, I placed you right at the back of my bed’s headboard. You were gleaming brightly in all your glory. I sent your pictures to my best friends and family that night. Everyone thought that we fit perfectly together. I agreed.
On my birthday in March 2017, when my room was full of others like you, you stood out. They were no competition to you, no matter how bright their lights shone. Amongst all the celebrations, cake and presents, you brought me the most joy.
My nights were filled with your teal colored lights, always cheering me up. Being away from you made me anxious. The thought of not seeing you again was unbearable.
On October 21, 2018, my worst nightmare came to life. As I was getting ready for a family gathering at my house, I kept looking at you to make sure you were there by my side.
According to an old wives’ tale, the breaking of glass is a bad omen. That moment, while rushing through getting ready and answering people in the house, I broke a glass I had placed at the corner of the side table. Juggling between cleaning the mess and getting ready, I forgot about you and how sensitive you were to harsh light. The beaming bulbs of my makeup vanity suddenly hit you.
Before I knew it, you were gone. I did not know what had happened at that moment. I was numb. I could not think properly. There was no one to blame but, myself. In a split second, due to a tiny mistake, I lost you.
Your size had changed and the shape of you now looked like a plastic bag. I switched off the vanity lights as soon as I realized what had happened. I took you off the headboard and held you close.
With teary red eyes, I started looking for the wound. I wanted to put a bandage and help you recover. The worst part was that even broken, you were still beautiful to me.
I remembered what my mother once said about you, “Do not get too attached. It is only a balloon.” Maybe, if I had listened to her, I would have saved myself from so much pain.
I still find myself switching on your blue lights whenever I miss you. You are not the same as when I first found you, but our memories together still bring me joy.
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